The Australian Classification Board are at it again with their strict rules, and this time around the detective RPG Disco Elysium is on the chopping block. The game's new edition The Final Cut is set to launch on March 30th, adding new quests and additional voice acting. However, unless developers ZA/UM make a few changes to censor or cut the content Australia don't like, it won't be released down under.
According to the Australian Classification website (as spotted by Gamasutra), the game has been refused because it depicts: "matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults."
I mean, yeah, the game does have those things in them, but it's largely about dealing with those sorts of destructive behaviours.
"It is not a game about youth and heroism, conquest and vengeance, triumph or power," Alec wrote. "It is a game about confronting one's own wreckage. It is a game not about regrets, but about how shameful those regrets are, how destructive they are. It is a game about challenging regrets, and building something new from the wreckage. It is a mirror I cannot turn away from."
The Australian Classification Board tend to hold issue with games depicting any sort of drug use. They made Fallout 3 change rename real-life drugs to fake ones, and Life Is Strange 2 was removed from digital stores in Aus after an episode with drug use came out too. In 2018, they also banned We Happy Few from being sold in the country, taking issue with the game's fake drug "Joy". That game managed to end up with an R18+ age rating in Aus, rather than the ban, after the devs appealed the ruling.
I've reached out to ZA/UM to ask about the classification refusal, and will keep you posted if they respond. It seems likely all this is coming out now because they're trying to get the game classified for consoles, as the The Final Cut is set to launch on Nintendo Switch, the PlayStations and the Xboxes next week.
It's unclear what all this classification business will mean for Aussies who already own the game on PC. I feel like it would be strange if they didn't get the update seeing as the game already exists there, but then again, the Australian Classification Board make a lot of strange choices.